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Spiderweb- The case of the mysterious expanding download


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Hyperbolic title aside, anyone got any clue why suddenly Avadon and the Avernum remake suddenly got so much bigger in their download sizes?

 

I just checked, and Geneforge 5 was about 35 MB. Avernum 6 about the same size. Then suddenly Avadon triples that with about 105 MB download for the demo. And the recent remake balloons that up to 165 MB.

 

What on earth is Jeff putting in those games that could make them so much bigger than any of his previous ones? Is it simply a matter of much less aggressive compression?

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Glancing at Avadon and BoA, it looks like the difference is mostly more and higher quality graphics. (Avadon has 92 MB of png graphics, while BoA has less than 6.8 MB of PICT graphics.) Sounds are also a part of it, and follow a similar pattern.

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Looking at the folder, I see that about 150 MB of 176 are graphics. Compared to that, Avernum 4 had only 60MB worth of grahics.

 

Quality and diversity is part of it, but the most significant increase probably comes from adding more frame animations. Once upon a time only the death sequence was animated; now each character has attacks for each weapon facing each direction.

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I think graphics pretty much covers it, too. In E1, each character had only two graphics: one facing left, and the other facing right. Now, the characters have several possible graphics and animations, each facing eight directions. Sure, all those graphics make the game look prettier, but they take up a heck of a lot of space.

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To be honest, I could do with a little less animation. The ones directly relevant the game are nice (hey cool, the loot does this nice flip into the air before being dropped!) The spell animations are pretty too.

 

And okay, my character screens sparkle when I level up. But when I walk close to a sign, why does that dialog box have to emit dancing lights? And whenever I toggle combat mode, the Peace/Combat symbols do this "grow huge and fade" sequence, as if that were a momentous event. This inflation of sparkly special effects makes an awesome and deep game almost resemble some cheap Zynga app.

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Originally Posted By: off/on
Originally Posted By: Aʀᴀɴ
I actually clicked. tongue


So did I. But after reading your post, so I guess I win. Something. ?


I... must... resist... clicking...
Resistance is futile.

!CLICK!

Oh my aching hush puppies.
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"Torrents are illegal! Blizzard should be sued!"

 

I was actually aware of the fact that Blizzard Updater uses a torrent format for its downloads. The volume of content being moved, especially with digital downloads of the entire games, is too large for ordinary downloading. Torrenting allows Blizzard to move the same amount of data with far less infrastructure.

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Originally Posted By: Student of Trinity
The human genome is only about 800 megs. Diablo 2 takes more space than me. Now I feel cheap.

No, we're just super old school. Not only do we not need fancy graphics to play, we only need four letters. Take that, Angband.

Dikiyoba.
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Originally Posted By: Student of Trinity
The human genome is only about 800 megs. Diablo 2 takes more space than me. Now I feel cheap.


So, what you're saying is, I could absolutely keep an entire family on a USB thumb drive?

I guess instead of threatening my mother with a rubbish retirement home, I'll be able to threaten to send her to E:\ instead. Much easier on the wallet.
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Originally Posted By: Student of Trinity
The human genome is only about 800 megs. Diablo 2 takes more space than me. Now I feel cheap.


It really helps to put this into perspective. Considering a string of just 4 characters that takes 800 megs is ridiculous. All of the other components required to make DNA do its stuff add a bit of heft to things. Still, everything that is you can fit into a single cell. Diablo II requires something macroscopic!
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You've got about 3 gigabases (3 billion bases) of DNA, and under 2% is coding DNA. With no compression whatsoever, that's going to be about 1.5 gigabytes.

 

—Alorael, who can think of many simple compression algorithms. It takes two bits to express a nucleotide, but six bits can express any codon (set of three bases) with room to put in information about repeated codons.

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Originally Posted By: Master1
Torrenting allows Blizzard to move the same amount of data with far less infrastructure.


Instead it transfers those costs onto the ISPs, which then blame piracy. This in turn generates more support to digital media producers - like Blizzard. It's beautiful! tongue
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I remember when I first got internet access, over the same phone line I used for the phone. Downloads had to be done overnight or the phone couldn't be used.

 

—Alorael, who now likes to call people over his cell phone and play recordings of old dial-up sounds. It scares him that there's a young generation that has no idea what dial-up sounds like, and he's taken it upon himself to fix the problem, one call at a time.

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Originally Posted By: DINTIRADAN
Heck, pretty soon people won't recognize a dial tone.

*waves stick*

Did you see The Simpsons where Millhouse's dad almost gets to finish downloading a photo using an acoustical modem?

The first phone I ever bought was a black rotary desktop model. However I no longer have college roommates to freak out with the sight of it. *sigh*
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Originally Posted By: Sprinkles29
He looks like such a nice guy I don't think I can ever bring myself to say anything critical about Spiderweb Software again


I know right? It's the beard; he looks a bit like Steve Wozniak. Or like one of my CS professors.
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Originally Posted By: DINTIRADAN
Heck, pretty soon people won't recognize a dial tone.

The standard description of DNA supercoiling as what happens when you keep twisting a coiled phone cord has already failed. College students now often have limited experience with phones that have cords.

—Alorael, who did a demonstration to a middle school class about it. It was more for entertainment than education, because middle schoolers don't know what DNA is, much less how its topology matters, but everything was derailed by their wanting to know what the object he was demonstrating with was for when he explained that it wasn't just a handy piece of giant fake DNA.
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Originally Posted By: ALORAEL
Originally Posted By: DINTIRADAN
Heck, pretty soon people won't recognize a dial tone.

The standard description of DNA supercoiling as what happens when you keep twisting a coiled phone cord has already failed. College students now often have limited experience with phones that have cords.

—Alorael, who did a demonstration to a middle school class about it. It was more for entertainment than education, because middle schoolers don't know what DNA is, much less how its topology matters, but everything was derailed by their wanting to know what the object he was demonstrating with was for when he explained that it wasn't just a handy piece of giant fake DNA.
Corded phones are still useful, though. How else do you use a landline during a power outage? I suppose you could use a cell phone to make calls if you have one, but that doesn't help you receive calls.

As for rotary phones, I'm not too sad to see them gone. Using a touch-tone is faster, and good luck using an automated service with a rotary. However, no kid nowadays knows what to do with those Fisher Price phones any more. Which is probably for the best, as they were kinda creepy.
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And I thought I was the only dinosaur who keeps a hard wired land line. Sometimes, the older technology is the most reliable. I just hope technology doesn't devolve to tree trunk drums, although they proved quite useful in the Philippines back in the forties. ;-)

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Originally Posted By: Harehunter
And I thought I was the only dinosaur who keeps a hard wired land line.


I wouldn't call myself a dinosaur (unfortunately, as it breaks another promise my 5-year-old self made), but I have a fixed landline too. I very rarely use it, but it's handy for those calls that cost a fortune from your mobile and you just know you're going to be put on hold (utility providers, I'm looking at you). Also, I used it one time when the fuses blew and I thought there was a power cut, so I called my sister (who has a small child) to see if they were okay.

Still haven't quite lived that one down.
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Originally Posted By: Randomizer
I only have a land line. I see no reason to get bothered when I'm away from home with more calls. Especially since less than 5% are worth answering.


But what do you play Angry Birds on?!

(I usually just leave my phone on silent. It's very easy to not be bothered by calls or messages when you don't wish to be.)

Edit: The best reason I heard for not owning a mobile phone was from, I think, the comedian Paul Merton. Anyway, basically, he doesn't have a mobile phone because if, for any reason, he needs one whilst he is out, he can easily ask the first person he sees if we could borrow theirs.
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Originally Posted By: Fight fire with FIRE!!!
I remember when I first got internet access, over the same phone line I used for the phone. Downloads had to be done overnight or the phone couldn't be used.

—Alorael
I remember ourold dial-up connection. I downloaded G1 and the first Avernum triogy at the blazing speed of 0.2MB/min. Ah, those were the good old days....

Originally Posted By: Dintiradan
Heck, pretty soon people won't recognize a dial tone.

*waves stick*
Not surprising, considering the number of people I've talked to who couldn't identify, much less use, a rotary phone (which has a dial, and hence the term "dial tone").

Then again, I also remember the days when a television show would go to commercial using the tagline, "Don't touch that dial!" I don't know anyone born after the 1980's who would get the reference to a televsion's tuning dial(s).

Now please excuse me while I beat some rocks together to try and conjure up a fire.
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Quote:
I remember ourold dial-up connection. I downloaded G1 and the first Avernum triogy at the blazing speed of 0.2MB/min. Ah, those were the good old days....


Oh, yes; I remember doing that with Exile 1 and 2 (Exile 3, my introduction to SW, had come on a shareware CD). And then, because my dad's PC was the only one hooked up to the phone line, I had to pack the zip file onto a bunch of 3.5" discs to copy it. laugh

"Now please insert disc 3 of 17..."
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When I was quite young our TV had a channel dial. It went from 2 to 13. I never knew what happened to channel 1.

 

The picture was black and white. When you turned it off, the picture sucked into this little white dot in the middle of a black screen, which stayed for a while before going out. In retrospect it sounds really creepy, but that was just how televisions were. It also took a little while for the picture to appear, after you turned the set on.

 

I've actually played Pong. It was horrible. I can't think why my parents bought it. They tried to get us to play it, though. They shouted at us to get in out of the sun and fresh air and sit down in front of the screen and play video games. We didn't listen.

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Our black and white set had a remote control. My father would tell me what channel he wanted me to get up and change it to. Same with volume control. Plus he never needed to replace the batteries.

 

I still can remember when shows proudly announced that they were in living color.

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